Mottisfont's house blog

Welcome to the Mottisfont house blog, where you can discover what the conservation team is up to at the moment and learn what it's like to look after a historic house and collection. Check back once a month for updates.

A Conservation Assistant at Mottisfont uses a soft brush and hoover to clean a grand piano

Protecting historic floors at Mottisfont 

Once the busy Christmas period passed the house team pulled together to get the property back to normal, including protecting and preserving historic wooden floors.

A marble relief of Medusa from a fireplace at Mottisfont

Mythology in Mottisfont's collection 

January 2020 - Conservation Assistant Sadhbh McGlue looks at the mythological influences found in some of Mottisfont's interior pieces.

A decorated tree and piles of presents in the Whistler Room at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Conservation and Christmas fairies at Mottisfont 

November 2019 - new Conservation Assistant Sadhbh McGlue got stuck into festive preparations, balancing conservation with Christmas.

A fire engine parked outside the house at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Emergency salvage training at Mottisfont 

September 2019 - as part of our ongoing emergency salvage training programme, we worked with the local fire service on a large-scale exercise to help staff feel more confident about dealing with emergency situations.

The Whistler Room at Mottisfont, empty of furniture with new carpet laid

Replacing the Whistler Room carpet at Mottisfont 

August 2019 - a new carpet which has recently been installed in this room, helping to re-create some of the style and luxury appropriate for Maud Russell’s home.

A view of the north lawn through the vision blinds newly installed at Mottisfont in the Morning Room

Rooms with a view at Mottisfont 

July 2019 - we welcomed new blinds, kindly donated by the Winchester National Trust Association, to help protect our collection and interiors throughout the house.

A specialist decorator works on the gilding on the window surrounds in Mottisfont's Morning Room

Re-decorating the Morning Room at Mottisfont 

June 2019 - In early May, re-decorations in the Morning Room were carried out by George Knibb and Son, painters specialising in the decoration and restoration of historic buildings.

A conservation volunteer at Mottisfont adjusts a wall-hanging painting

Not just hoovering: the work of a conservation volunteer at Mottisfont 

May 2019 - conservation volunteer Georgie Taylor-Darke reveals the work that goes in to keeping a house like Mottisfont spick and span.

The Long Gallery corridor at Mottisfont, Hampshire, lined with marble busts and marble-effect painted walls

Mottisfont's collection 

April 2019 - look closer in Mottisfont's rooms to discover some of our collection items, from painted walls and doors to marble fireplaces and light fittings, all commissioned by Maud Russell.

A set of green-and-white striped chairs in front of the marble fireplace in the Whistler Room at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Interior conservation work in 2019 

March 2019 - House Manager Sophie West looks ahead to some of the exciting conservation work we'll be doing in 2019: cleaning paintings, restoring original furtniture pieces and more conservation in action.

Repairing damaged books at Mottisfont

Learning how to repair books at Mottisfont 

February 2019 - Mottisfont's house team carry out book repairs in front of visitors once a month. Here, new Conservation Assistant Megan Daley describes being trained in the intricacies of repairing damaged spines.

Conservation Assistant Leah Morton on top of a scaffold in the red room at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Joining Mottisfont's house team 

January 2019 - one of our new house team members describes some of her best experiences so far, as well as some other memorable moments from the last few months.

A pile of presents surround a bauble-laden tree in the Whistler Room at Mottisfont

Getting ready for Christmas at Mottisfont 

December 2018 - decorating the house for Christmas is always a huge undertaking. This year was no exception, with over 150 metres of wrapping paper, more than 8000 Christmas tree lights and at least 80 mice.

A detail from the decorative marble fireplace in the Morning Room at Mottisfont

The historic interiors log at Mottisfont 

November 2018 - our aim as a house team is to prevent or slow down the rate of deterioration of Mottisfont’s collection and interior. We do so by practising preventive conservation, a method of risk management which helps us to identify the causes of change. One way we manage the collection is by keeping detailed records of all the objects in the house.

Carpet beetle damage to the ermine of the Whistler room curtains

Integrated pest management at Mottisfont 

October 2018 - Conservation Assistant Vicky Hand is in charge of monitoring and controlling Mottisfont's insect pest population, ensuring the safety of our collection.

Books displayed on shelves in the Morning Room at Mottisfont, Hampshire

A day in the life of a Conservation Assistant at Mottisfont 

September 2018 - volunteer Conservation Assistant Emma talks about some of her favourite day-to-day tasks and objects.

Conservation Assistant Alissa Tassopoulos cleaning a statue in the grounds of Mottisfont, Hampshire

Caring for outdoor objects at Mottisfont 

August 2018 - as well as the objects indoors, we have responsibility for the statues and urns in the garden, the summerhouse, the fishing hut and the loose boxes in the stableyard. Here Senior House Steward Anna Pizzey talks about the regular care and maintenance these require.

Textile conservators unstich the lining from the velvet of the curtains from the Whistler Room in Mottisfont, Hampshire

Conservation work on the Whistler Room curtains at Mottisfont 

July 2018 - this year, we've started a project to restore the curtains in our Whistler Room, an integral part of the decorative scheme commissioned by Maud Russell. House Manager Sophie West talks about what work we've done so far, and what we've discovered along the way.

A view of furniture and collection items including an armchair and harpsichord in the Boys' Room at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Deep Cleaning the Boys' Room at Mottisfont 

June 2018 - as well as daily cleaning, we carry out an annual deep clean in each of our rooms. Conservation Assistant Izzy Mayhew talks about our recent clean of the Boys' Room, and some of the methods we use.

An ensemble of musicians perform around a harpsichord in the red room at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Reviving Baroque at Mottisfont 

May 2018 - this year we're telling the story of Raymond Russell, youngest son of Mottisfont's last owners and keen harpsichord performer. House Steward Zoe Price talks about how we're bringing music back to the house as part of this new interpretation.

A shelf of plastic boxes containing salvage equipment at Mottisfont, Hamsphire

Emergency planning at Mottisfont 

April 2018 - We need to be ready for emergencies of all kinds at Mottisfont: from major to minor incidents, whether it's water damage, fire or something else entirely. Here, Conservation Assistant Alissa Tassopoulos explains how the house team are helping the whole property prepare.